On record, the oldest person to have ever lived was 122 years old. When she was asked about the secret to longevity, she replied, “Red wine and lots of chocolate.” She rode a bicycle until she was 100 years old.
Scientists are still puzzled by why some people outlive others, but we do know the life expectancy in America is increasing overall. Our bodies are built to repair and restore themselves. There is a science to prolonging your life—doing things that are harmonious with the body’s ability to heal itself.
To live a long, healthy, and vital life, it is just as important to be in good mental shape as it is in prime physical shape.
Nutrition plays one of the most important roles in ensuring longevity. Reducing calorie intake by about 25 percent has been shown to slow down one’s metabolism; according to experts, people with a slower metabolism live longer. When reducing caloric intake, one must remove the least nutritional items from the grocery list, and keep the ones with most nutrients.
It is vital that the body is properly nourished, but not “full.” When the body is in a state of slight hunger, it becomes stronger and will resist the aging process. This also begins a process of autophagy, or regeneration, in which cells remove damaged parts and recycle materials into new parts.
Healthy consumption of wine has been linked to improved cardiovascular health, protection of cells from free radical damage, and promotion of healthy blood sugar levels, all resulting from a natural ingredient found in red and white wine called resveratrol. Organic dark chocolate is a great source of flavonoids, antioxidants that reduce cell damage caused by free radicals. The consumption of dark chocolate has also been shown to slow down the aging process and helping prevent age-related disease. Of course, everything must be consumed in moderation, and a balanced nutritional diet is crucial to good health and longevity.
A positive mindset is imperative to living a long and healthy life. The mind should always be actively working and growing. Factors negatively affecting the mind—such as stress—need to be removed. Chronic psychological stress causes damage deep within human cells by shortening telomeres (tiny pieces of DNA). Short telomeres have been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and early death.
Studies show that exercise keeps stress from unraveling telomeres. Not all stress is bad, however. Findings from additional studies indicate that good stress actually prolongs longevity. Good stress can be induced by performing challenging, yet fulfilling work, and participating in competitive sports.
You need to keep your body active to keep it working. However, you do not need to do lengthy amounts of strenuous exercise to stay healthy. Studies show that as little as 10 to 15 minutes of mild-vigorous exercise a day helps prevent the shortening of telomeres, reducing the effect of aging on cells. Daily walks outside are great for both your mind and body, even if you do it for only a few minutes a day (after you get outside, you will likely want to stay out longer).
Science is evolving quickly, and what we are now able to do with the help of medical research and technology is astounding. Regenerative medicine is a field that uses the latest technology to replace the body’s injured cells with its own healthy, regenerative cells, which then repair and restore the injury. For example, someone with a sports injury can use a therapy called Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP), in which the patient’s own blood is drawn, and then spun using a device that separates the cells. Then, the cells that heal and restore are isolated and injected into the injured area. It is safe because the patient is using his or her own blood and cells, so it is natural and there are minimal chances of rejection or infection.
Regenerative medicine is also used for cosmetic purposes, and this field is growing in popularity rapidly. Many say that regenerative medicine is the “fountain of youth”—it allows the body to repair and heal itself, alleviating pain and restoring functionality.
Our bodies really do have the ability to heal and restore, but we are responsible for helping them do so. By exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, staying positive, and getting proper nutrition, we help our body repair itself faster. The science behind living forever is taking care of yourself and your body every day as if you were really going to live forever.
By Dr. Demesmin